RICHARDSON, Texas – The Texas Education Agency released new guidelines this week that now allow students to be just three-feet apart, instead of six-feet apart.
It follows updated CDC guidelines, which also say Plexiglas desk dividers don’t really have an effect on the spread of the virus.
North Texas school districts are taking note and making changes, and that includes Richardson ISD.
Richardson ISD notified parents that the Plexiglas desk dividers can come down in most cases, and many are hoping it will be one less physical barrier to learning.
Folding and unfolding Plexiglas desk dividers is a routine many Richardson ISD students have gotten accustomed too, but earlier this month, the CDC said there was no evidence that the desk barriers actually impact the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC also revised its guidelines, allowing three-feet of distance between masked students in the classroom.
RELATED: CDC changes school guidance, allowing students to sit 3 feet apart
FILE – A poster from the CDC in the hallway that says, “Please wear a cloth face covering” and “Maintain a distance of 6 feet whenever possible.” (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
That led Richardson ISD to make a change.
“This updated guidance is the reason we are removing desk shields, as a mitigation protocol,” Richardson ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeanne Stone said.
But Stone is still leaving the final call to parents.
“Parents, you still have the choice to request your child continue to use a desk shield for the remainder of the year,” she added.
“Both boys came home and said they had homework, and their assignment was to watch the video with me,” parent Morgan Umphenour said.
Many students were happy about the news, but Ben Umphenour, a kindergartner who has never experienced class without the dividers, felt differently.
Richardson ISD is also now allowing students who can maintain three-feet of distance while active outside to remove their masks.
It’s a similar move other North Texas districts have made in recent weeks.
And the Texas Education Agency revised its guidelines this week to reflect the CDC updates.
Welcome news to many.
“I felt good and happy could take mask off at recess for the first time,” kindergartner Noah Dean said.
But some students who have grown used to all the protective measures are skeptical.
“Since I didn’t know three-feet or not, I preferred to keep my mask on,” Umphenour said. “I wish it was six- feet still…because it is safer, six-feet is greater than three-feet.”
Dr. Stone also said infection rates within the district are at their lowest levels since in-person learning began.
That news comes after cases hit an all-time high in January.